Post by James
Underground has two branches, one in Higashi-Jujo and one in Akabane. Today, I am in Akabane.
Quite a spacious bar. There are about six counter seats and table seating for at least 20 people. There is also a small table outside.
There are 15 taps of mostly Japanese but also imported beers. Pints ranged from ¥1000 to ¥1800 and Regular size (300ml) started at ¥700. Prices include tax. There are also several big fridges full of cans and bottles. I found plenty cans that I wanted to try.
The ordering system is a bit of a weird mix. All draught beers and food has to be ordered through a Smartphone App (there is free WiFi) but with bottles and cans, you just show the staff what you’ve taken from the fridge and they add it onto your bill. I guess it would just be far too labour intensive to constantly update the cans on the App. It did feel a bit strange to be happily chatting away to the staff but to have to order on my phone in the middle of the conversation. Quite a few bars are using Smartphone Apps now. It must save labour costs (this leads to some good prices) and, as it reduces contact between staff and customers, it’s safer during these Corona times. However, it does make it a lot less interesting if you are drinking on your own.
Underground (Akabane) is a good place for daytime drinking. There is a ¥300 charge after 5 p.m. but not during the day. What’s more, the ¥300 corkage fee on bottles and cans was also waived during the day (not sure if that will continue to be the case after Corona). There is even a beer flight (3x 150 ml for ¥1500) available during the day.
There is a good lunch menu and other food options.
I went to Underground during the day with a friend so I thought it was good value and I didn’t mind ordering on my phone. It wouldn’t be as good if I came back on my own at night.
I mentioned that there is another (older) branch in Jujo. (Now added to the Tokyo Beer Drinker map). It has less taps, less cans and, at least when I last went, didn’t have a Smartphone ordering system. It’s a fun place to go on your own. It’s a very difficult time for craft beer bars and I definitely felt that Underground is trying to keep prices down and give customers a bar atmosphere.
Japanese breweries seen on tap:
BUT THESE MAY BE CORONA HOURS SO CHECK BEFORE YOU GO
赤羽 1-66-5, Kita-ku, Tokyo